Supermarkets are under a lot of pressure to sell more, spend less, and follow regulations about using sustainable refrigerants. While grocers evaluate their refrigeration options, there is much more to consider than regulatory compliance alone.

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Having the right refrigeration system is important for keeping food fresh and preventing supermarkets from losing money on wasted food. However, these systems also use a lot of energy and require regular maintenance, which can be costly.
The ideal supermarket refrigeration system should be:
That brings us to evaluate CO2, a supposedly “natural” refrigerant that, despite having low GWP, falls short on several other factors that are important to supermarket refrigeration. These include:

Choosing the Right Refrigerant Installation Icon


Switching to CO2 refrigeration system can be disruptive and costly. It requires entirely new equipment because CO2 -based refrigeration systems function at high pressures, and as a result, need costly components that must withstand high pressure conditions. 

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Excess Leaks

When a leak occurs in a CO2 refrigeration system, it is very rapid due to the high pressures of CO2 . Furthermore, there is no recovery equipment for CO2, meaning repairs often lead to complete system discharge.

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Unlike HFO-based systems, CO2-based refrigeration systems are complex and difficult to repair, and demand specialized skills and capabilities. This makes finding qualified technicians a real challenge. There are also concerns regarding whether a refrigeration system running at such a high pressure will have as long a lifespan as a traditional system.

Supply chain management for refrigerants at Honeywell Advanced Materials

Sporadic Supply

CO2 refrigerant has significant short-term supply and pricing challenges. As we move away from using fossil fuels, there will be less CO2 produced from industrial activities. This means we will need to purposefully produce CO2 refrigerants to meet our needs. This will impact the supply and significantly drive up the production cost of refrigerant-grade CO

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Energy Efficiency

More than 95% of a typical supermarket’s lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are generated through the system's energy consumption (scope 2 emissions), according to a lifecycle comparison of CO2 refrigerants versus low GWP HFO-based refrigerants. Meanwhile, the emissions from refrigerant leaks (scope 1 emissions) have a significantly lower contribution of less than 5%.1 Because commercial refrigeration CO2 systems are less thermodynamically efficient, they consume 20% more energy than HFO-based systems, which dominate the overall lifecycle GHG impact.

Reliability is key when choosing the right refrigerant - Honeywell Advanced Materials


Stores using higher-pressure CO2-based systems must take precautions to ensure they can survive a power outage. During a power outage, refrigeration systems warm to ambient conditions. You need a backup generator and a refrigeration unit that uses HFO/HFC or CO2 refrigerant on site. If the leak is not fixed quickly, the entire system could be down for a while. This could put food safety and quality at risk.

It's time to reassess CO2-based systems and consider a transition to low GWP refrigerants such as Solstice® HFO and HFO blends.

Being a sustainable supermarket is now easier with Solstice® HFO-based refrigerants for low-and-medium temperature applications 

Solstice® L40X (R-455A)
  • Mildly flammable (A2L), HFO-based refrigerant for supermarkets with a GWP of 146
  • Offers higher efficiency and is a close capacity match to R-404A, an extended operating envelope when compared to propane or air-conditioning refrigerants, and high energy efficiency
  • Usage: New Systems
Solstice® 454C (R-454C)
  • A2L, non-ozone-depleting, zeotropic blend designed as a low GWP (<150) alternative to R-404A in supermarket refrigeration applications
  • Close capacity match to R-404A and provides 27% energy efficiency improvement vs. CO2*
Solstice® 454A (R-454A)
  • Non-ozone-depleting, zeotropic blend designed as a low GWP alternative to R-404A in supermarket refrigeration applications
  • Demonstrates approximately 6% improved efficiency, 8% better capacity, and has 94% lower GWP than R-404A
Solstice® N40 (R-448A)
  • Replacement for R-404A with 70% lower-GWP
  • Application: Low and medium temperature
  • Usage: Retrofits and new supermarket refrigeration systems

Choose Solstice® Refrigerants for your supermarket instead of CO2 and start your journey to a lower carbon future 

Designed for new refrigeration systems in low-medium-temperature supermarket applications, Solstice refrigerants are easy to install and maintain. In contrast to CO2-based refrigeration systems, which demand specialized skills and capabilities, systems with Solstice® refrigerants follow standard installation and maintenance practices, requiring no elite skillset and experience.
Unlike CO2 based supermarket refrigeration systems, Solstice® refrigerants have a lower CAPEX requirement. Being a high-pressure refrigerant, CO2 systems need entirely new equipment and costly components to withstand high-pressure conditions.
Solstice® L40X and Solstice® 454C provide energy efficiency improvement over CO2, helping supermarkets reduce overall CO2 footprint (Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions)*.

Customer Success Stories 

Edeka — Erxleben, Germany Installed Solstice® L40X in November 2020 and achieved the following benefits:
  • 30% savings on electricity and heating costs compared to central refrigeration systems
  • 40% lower energy consumption than plug-in refrigeration units without heat recovery
  • 35% lower investment costs than a comparable CO2 refrigeration system
MD Discount — Persiceto, Italy Installed Solstice® L40X in January 2023 and it projects:
  • 25% lower lifetime emissions compared to CO2 refrigeration systems
  • Savings of €260,000 in lifetime cost compared to CO2 refrigeration systems

Be a part of our transition to a low-carbon future program

This program is exclusively crafted for supermarkets interested in testing any of our A2L refrigerants—Solstice® L40X, Solstice® 454C, or Solstice® 454A—in their new equipment. Once you sign up for this program, our team will evaluate your installation, and if it's suitable for the trial, our experts will collaborate with you to help you achieve your supermarket’s sustainability goals.

1Based on Honeywell eco-efficiency simulation for 20 year period

2Technology Options for Low Environmental Impact Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Systems, ORNL/TM- 2023/3041, Pub200582.pdf (